East Baltimore college holds 19th graduation

Ceremony marks end of hard road for many at Sojourner-Douglass

June 28, 1999|By Mike Farabaugh | Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF

For each of the 102 graduates of East Baltimore's Sojourner-Douglass College -- where the average age of an incoming freshman is 36 -- the 19th commencement yesterday marked a dream fulfilled.

Judith Reed Dotson, 50, sought economic independence for herself and two children when she enrolled at Sojourner-Douglass in the 500 block of N. Caroline St.

She transferred from Morgan State University, taking advantage of the flexible evening class schedule to pursue a degree in human growth and development.

Kevin Jacob-Bey, 40, began studies at Bowie State University but said he took a wrong turn, getting involved with alcohol and drugs.

Jacob-Bey works with troubled youths and wanted to improve himself.

More importantly, he said, he wants to be a role model for three children, four stepchildren and a grandchild.

"I attend Resurrection Moorish Science Temple," he said. "Sojourner-Douglass provided a culturally diverse learning center."

Joann Shivers, 30, earned a full scholarship to the University of Baltimore in 1995, but was pregnant and decided to wait until her child was 2 years old before pursuing a degree in human and social resources.

Commencement ceremonies were held at neighboring Dunbar High School.

Walter Mosley, yesterday's featured speaker and best-selling author of the Easy Rawlins detective series, praised graduates for achieving what "you already knew."

"The most important day of your lives was the day you made the decision to transform," Mosley said.

Mosley said jokingly that he had had high hopes for his education, but his teachers "didn't want to hear the truth from me."

He said the best school would be one like Sojourner-Douglass. He called it the "School of Suspicion" and urged the graduates never to let anyone tell them what to think.

"If someone is telling you what to think, you are not being free," Mosley said.

The college bestowed honorary doctorate degrees on Mosley and Gossie H. Hudson, a retired Morgan State University history professor, poet, journalist and radio talk-show host.

Pub Date: 6/28/99

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